Cover Image: Secrets in a Small Town

Secrets in a Small Town

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Member Reviews

Entertaining mystery. Savannah Castillo, town manager, is a person that thrives when she has control. She also has a daughter, Eliana. Mackenzie Blake, is the town's Deputy Chief of Police. Micki is friends with Eliana because her roommate and friend Rebecca picks her up and watches her after school. Savannah has an issue with Mickie because she believes she is incompetent with an incompetent staff. An inappropriate yet funny line that Eliana shares that her mother says about a member of Micki's staff,  "...Jack is a hundred years old and wouldn't be able to stop a baby from drawing on a wall". Mickie pleads for more funding for the police department but Savannah is not willing to provide. As the story unfolds the interaction between the two becomes a necessity (only in a small town?). I thought the characters were well developed and provided interesting additions to the read.
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A pretty decent read and debut from this author, I'll check out her future books. I really like the characters, but somehow they sounded pretty familiar, I don't know how to explain it
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An honest review thanks to NetGalley.  I had put off reading this one for a while, why.  Well, because the cover didn't interest me.  This once again proves to not judge a book by its cover.  I was swept away immediately.  I know some of the reviews talked about how they didn't like how harsh Savannah was at first, but it is what drew me in.  I wanted to know why and you could feel the hidden sexual tension between her and Micki.  This is a hate to love with mystery thrown in.  I am usually awesome at guessing who the "Bad Guy" is, in a mystery.  Though I was totally wrong with this one, that shows that this author has some amazing skills.  Most of the time the small clues an author gives are way to obvious.  This is a great read and I will be looking for more of Stiling's books in the future.
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I love a good ice queen and Savanna is just that. Micki is funny and knows how to push buttons. Mix these two with a good mystery stalker and you have a good book. Read it!
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Excellent debut novel here !
Reading the description, I immediately got the fanfiction based vibe that had me request an ARC for review.

It's a quick and easy read, enemies to lovers hot romance, fast paced but not rushed. Loved it and looking forward to another work from Stiling. Coming from fanfiction, I already know i care for the two MCs. I'd love to see if Stiling can me feel the same for some Original Character of her own. I'd bet for a Yes !
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I received a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Secrets in a Small Town is the first work I have read from Nicole Stiling, but it won't be the last. I love ice queen, hate to love style romances and this one is a fantastic version of that. Weaved into the storyline is a mystery. Someone is stalking Savanna Castillo, the town manager of the small town of Winter Valley. She certainly has her share of enemies with the way she holds people at a distance after her heart was broken. But she doesn't want to involve Chief Mackenzie Blake. The two women have a heated relationship, to say the least. But when Chief Blake finds out, she kicks into gear to protect Savanna and try to find who is stalking her. In an effort to protect her and her daughter, the chief moves into Savanna's home, which is where the sparks start to fly. The ice begins to melt and the fire is ignited between the two.

I absolutely loved the character development of both Savanna and Mackenzie, showing their past relationships and how those shaped the women and the animosity they had for each other. While their relationship was very quick to develop, it felt very natural and realistic. Their chemistry was so electric and their lovemaking was on fire.

The stalker mystery was an excellent touch to bring the couple together and to build tension to the story. It made for a well-rounded novel. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who loves ice queens and watching them melt and fall in love.
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When I started reading this book, I didn't realize it leaned on the t.v show Once Upon A Time. 
(I don't read other reviews before I start reading a book so that other opinions can't colour my own, but that's just my choice.) 
But I was very pleased to find that it was much more than a reworked fan-fic. There is a lot that is freshly original about this novel too.
The two main characters have such wonderful chemistry, they go from trading snark, to a grudging understanding, to so much more. It seems fear and stress bring on passion that only they understand.
They are well-drawn, if familiar, and I love how they both interact with Eliana.

The beginning is cute and throws the reader an adorable curve right off. I liked the cover too, and for me, sometimes the cover can make or break my expectation of a book.

All in all, very well worth a read!
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Great chemistry between the leads. Good story-line (mystery), Hot romance. Moves along at an enjoyable pace. Great debut novel. looking forward to reading more of Nicole Stiling.

ARC given for an honest review.
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I am a big fan of a story with an ice queen so was looking forward to this book. I did enjoy the interactions between the two which made the story entertaining. I did however feel the transition from hatred to romance and love was too quick which made it hard to feel how believable the romance was. In saying that I did like the two together just would have liked the transition to have been done a little better and believable. 

The mystery I thought was good, I had a small idea of who I thought it was but was never 100% as I thought the storyline kept me guessing. 

Overall a really good read which I did enjoy and would recommend it as a light mystery read.
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Here is the run down of the book...Micki is Chief of Police is a small town that Savannah is TM ( is that kinda like a mayor?). They clash like the titans of old in a big way. Savannah has the personality or demeanor of the typical Ice Queen whereas Micki is pretty laid back and chill. Something stirs up the small town that effects Savannah and in comes Micki to try and save the day. The book starts off great. I really liked it and it made me smile. The initial interactions between Savannah and Micki were really great as well as you could feel the dislike/soon to be attraction between them. My problem comes from how quickly things take a 180 turn. I also felt things just seemed unfinished as I read. I'm all for instalove but this wasn't it and I felt the thawing of the Ice Queen was more like throwing an ice cube in a bonfire.

I am bit torn on how to rate this book. First of all this is a debut novel and for a debut it is well written and easy to read with likable main characters. However, the book just seemed to move to fast in the relationship between Micki and Savannah, the mystery or crime in the book dragged a bit for me, and felt like other things were just not fully hashed out to the point that it was not worth mentioning at all. That seems like a lot of bad compared to the good but really the read was nice. It's not a 3 star by any means but not a 4 star either. I guess, for her debut, I would rate this about a 3.60 star. And I look forward to reading the next book Nicole Stiling releases.

***Got an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review *** (Thank you)
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Secrets in a Small Town by Nicole Stiling had everything to win me over (and it did!). Reminiscent of an SQ fanfic, this book combines three of my favourite things. An ice queen, the enemies-to-lovers and the ‘forced to live together’ tropes and it’s a suspense/thriller.

Savannah Castillo manages the small town that is Winter Valley. She has everything under control until she starts getting creepy messages and gifts from a secret admirer (read stalker). Refusing to get the Chief Police, Micki Blake, involved because of their mutual dislike for one another, Savannah soon realised that she’ll need Micki’s help to ensure her six-year-old Eliana’s safety when things escalate, and the stalker starts targeting her home.

As well as being well written, this book is funny. There’s an underlying humour that I personally really enjoy, and I found myself chuckling quite a bit throughout the book. The banter between the two main characters is great and there’s definitely great chemistry between them.

I usually like my romances to be slow-burn, but Savannah and Micki realize quite early on that they are attracted to each other and they just sort of go with it without the usual ‘they get together, they break up, and they get back together drama’. It was nice.

For me, this is more of a 4.5 star read, but because I was so emotionally invested in the characters, I’m rounding it up to 5 stars. I’m really surprised that this is Stiling’s debut novel, and I will definitely check out anything else the author will publish. I definitely recommend it :)

Thank you to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review.
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I read this book in one sitting, it was a very nice and enjoyable read, part romance, part mystery. The mystery part was actually quite scary at times but not overwhelmingly so. The romance was an enemies to lovers one, and I liked how the characters themselves were surprised by it, how fast and how easily it happened. 

I’m always amazed at the quality of some debut novels, and while this one is not perfect, it makes me look forward to the author’s next one. 

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Savannah Castillo, Town Manager and Micki Blake, Chief of Police of small town Winter Valley are polar opposites and butt heads whenever they cross paths.  When Savannah finds herself being stalked, Micki moves in with Savannah and becomes her live in bodyguard. Micki makes it her mission to find Savannah's stalker and as the case evolves their attraction to each other intensifies.
Initially, I found the interactions between Savannah and Micki somewhat immature as they seemed to go out of their way to purposely antagonise each other. I guess this was the premise to show their love/hate relationship but I just found it a bit annoying.  Having said that, the more I read, the more I liked the story and how well it was written. You were kept guessing til the end who the stalker was so this was nice little mystery romance. A very good first book from Nicole Stiling, she's definitely someone to watch out for.
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I wasn’t prepared to like this book but by the end of chapter 2 I was shocked and could not put the book down. This book centers around the main character Micki who is the chief of police in a small town. She rents a room from Rebecca,  Who works at the small elementary school in town and also does childcare for Elaina, the six-year-old daughter of the town manager name Savannah.  Micki and Savannah have an antagonistic relationship   Micki knows Savannah  thinks that she is inept and Micki  views Savannah as cold and demanding needing to be in control person. While  Micki  has an easy-going attitude Savannah is all about order and control.  When Savannah begins to get strange gifts delivered to her office her office assistant Chloe talks to Micki about it because Savannah will not bring the issue up to the police department, especially with Micki in charge however Micki decides that she will informally watches Savannah’s house to see if she can find anything amiss. When Savannah realizes she is parked outside of her house she goes out punches Micki  in the face and the man’s that she leave immediately.  Micki’s mission is to protect both Savannah and Elaina from any danger, how is this going to work when Savannah wants nothing to do with   Will Savannah  eventually realize that she does need police protection and if so how was that going to work?

Stiling  does such a beautiful job developing the characters of Savannah  and Micki that you realize you don’t want harm to come to either of them and there’s always the hope that Micki might be able to melt the ice queen that is Savannah. This is a wonderful read and I highly recommend this book .
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This was a great little romance/mystery that I plowed through quickly. I loved the dynamic between the two leads, Micki and Savannah. Of course, I'm a sucker for the uptight, sarcastic, prickly woman who keeps everyone at arm's length until THE ONE comes into the picture. 

The mystery part of the book was believable and sufficiently creepy. I waffled throughout on who the stalker was, so I think that was well done. I was on pins and needles waiting for the resolution.

I enjoyed the suspense, but I loooooooved the romance between the two woman. I was actually giddy in anticipation of the first kiss. The way it came was a surprise, but it ended up being quite satisfying. I closed the book with a happy sigh. Would definitely recommend.
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I wanted to like this book so much! The beginning grabbed me and I laughed a lot through the first several chapters so I thought I was in luck. I got over the fact that this  very, very likely was a Once Upon a Time fan fic - which I normally don't care for much unless the writing is really well done - and decided to just roll with it. After all, Micki and Savannah had great chemistry and banter and there was a cute kid and fun secondary characters. All the makings of a fun read. 

And then the police work started. 

I've been told many times - a few while reading this book and chatting about it with a friend - that I'm just too hard on f/f romance novels. And I probably am. But in my defense, if a main plot arc of a romance is solving a case and the main character solving it is a police officer - even in a rom/com - the police work should make sense and be somewhat believable. I didn't think that happened here.

I did like the author's voice and her humor so I would certainly try her next book. This one had too many rough edges for me to get into properly. 

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the chance to read an author I'd not heard of before!
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This book is a lesbian Lifetime movie. Kinda predictable who the stalker was. The characters went from hate to love from 0 to 60 seconds and the stalker thing was kind of far fetched how he managed all without being found out till the end.
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Secrets in a Small Town is a very good and enjoyable story set the typical American small town of the title. Savannah Castillo is a big fish who has voluntarily settled in her small pond to better raise her daughter. Mackenzie Blake - Micki - is the Deputy Chief of the same small town.
Personalities grind and sparks fly, but long-suffering Micki gets the bad end of the deal until suddenly, she doesn't.
Quickly the sparks of conflict become the fires of passion.
This is a great book, a nice mix of light thriller and romance, that I enjoyed reading a lot. Maybe those sparks become fires a bit too quickly but nevertheless a worthy 4 stars.
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I really enjoyed this debut book! 

Savannah Castillo has a lot on her plate as manager for an extremely tiny town. It is her way or the highway when it comes to town issues and she's constantly butting heads with the town's Deputy Chief Mackenzie Blake when it comes to their ideas about the town. But when Savannah begins to receive strange packages in the mail, she fears for both her safety and the safety of her daughter. She soon she realizes she's come to the point where she has to put aside her differences and let Mackenzie know about it so she can do her job. Mackenzie moves in with Savannah and her daughter. She is confident her previous PI experience will help her find out who is behind this mess, even with the town's limited resources. But as the two women grow closer and the lines begin to blur, Mackenzie fears she is only putting Savannah in more danger. 

I really liked both characters, they were a perfect mix of strength and vulnerability. You connect with both women from the beginning, and the story only adds to the readers connection to them and their connection to each other as it moves along. Their relationship moves quickly, but it's a natural pacing for who these characters are, and for their connection and history prior to the beginning of this story.  Even while differences remain, the two women complement each other and balance each other out. This was a very mature romance, very organic. 

The book as a whole and the mystery moves at a fast pace as well, but the author doesn't leave anything out. Every supporting character has a purpose, you're always engaged int his vibrant story. 

I'm looking forward to what comes next from this author! 

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 stars for this debut novel by Nicole Stiling.

Savannah Castillo, a town manager, is an ice queen extraordinaire who likes to be in control of everything and everyone around her. Her one soft spot is for her 7 year old daughter, Eliana. The Deputy Chief of Police, Mackenzie (Micki) Blake regularly clashes with Savannah as her requests for her office renovation to be finished and updates to the police equipment and cars are repeatedly denied by Savannah. (Question: why isn’t Micki the “Chief of Police” instead of Deputy since there is no one above her position?)

Savanna begins to receive anonymous love letters and gifts from an admirer that quickly escalates to stalker. When the stalker starts leaving messages inside of Savanna’s house, Micki moves in to protect Savanna and Eliana. Savanna and Micki’s relationship goes from adversaries to lovers very quickly. My preference is slow burn romances but I didn’t mind this fast burn (hot) romance.

One quibble I had is I felt there are standard police procedures that Micki could have done that would have aided in identifying the stalker quicker. I had in my mind who the stalker was, but alas I was wrong. A good mystery keeps you guessing.

I was wondering if this story was originally a Once Upon a Time (OUAT) fan fiction or inspired by OUAT. OUAT was a TV show with ice queen Regina, who was a mayor of a small town with a young son and Emma was the Chief of Police. They too regularly clash and resemble Savanna and Micki. No matter. I enjoy fanfic so I’m thrilled when a fanfic author becomes a successful published author.

This is an enjoyable debut novel and I’m looking forward to Stiling’s next book.

An ARC of this book was given to me by NetGalley for an honest review.
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